(updated 29 February 2020)
Smooth Sailing through Security
To speed up going through security, have your zip-top liquid bag easily accessible, empty your pockets, take off your jacket, belt and shoes (in most U.S. cities) and have your laptop and or electronic devices removed from luggage and ready for screening. Let’s face it, who wants to wait behind someone who is jumbling through their “stuff” holding up the line. It is inconsiderate. Let us pay it forward at airport security.
Carry-on 3-1-1 Toiletries
- Opt for carry-on toiletries. Each liquid and gel toiletries need to be in a separate container measuring up to 100 ml (3.4 oz) or less. Not permitted are large containers that are half-full and rolled toothpaste tubes.
- Carry-on toiletries need to be in one clear transparent zip-top bag (per passenger) measuring up to 15.24 x 22.86 cm (6 x 9 in) and must be able to completely close.
- There are some exceptions for necessary liquids, such as baby formula and medicines.
- If you are staying at a hotel, check beforehand to see if they supply items such as shampoo, conditioner, lotions, and razors. Do they have a hair dryer available?
- Buy toiletries upon arrival and try out what the locals use.
Airlines allow passengers to carry onboard one personal item (handbag, computer bag) and one carry-on bag at no charge. For most airlines, the carry-on bag must be no larger than 45 linear inches and fit in an overhead compartment or under your seat. (Linear size is the length + width + height to give you total linear inches. For example, 8″ thick + 15″ wide + 22″ thick = 45 linear inches). However, do check with your airline for their allowable carry-on size and weight limits.
You’ll have fewer hassles checking your bag than going through security with a carry-on. Some items cannot be carried on and must check-in such as a Swiss Army knife or ski poles which are weapons. See the latest list of restrictions in the USA: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/all. For all other countries, check with the airline you will be using.
Travelling light is to your benefit even when checking your bag. Why? A light suitcase doesn’t run the risk of incurring an overweight baggage fee. Plus, once you reach your destination, consider that you still need to haul it around. A light bag means greater comfort and freedom.
NOTE: Information changes quickly. Make sure to visit www.tsa.gov for up-to-date regulations. Outside of the U.S., check the airline carrier you will be flying on.
Eurail (www.eurail.com) has no weight limitations but still suggests packing light. In the U.S., travelling by train is less restrictive: Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) allows two carry-ons and four checked-in bags.
Regardless, you will still be lugging your bags around and unless your moving, travelling light is always the best option; especially in Europe with short trips and “city breaks”. Whatever train, plane or ferry you plan on taking, check beforehand. Each will be different, and restrictions are always changing.
Gone are the days where you could store your luggage at the train station. I came across BagBNB when I was in Stockholm and did not want to lug my bag around as the hostel I was staying in did not have storage. It’s a brilliant idea. I searched their website for a location, paid a small fee and dropped my bag at a shop for the day.